What is a varicocele?
A varicocele is a dilated vein in the scrotum around the testicle. It may cause pain and heaviness in the area. Healthy veins within the scrotum contain one-way valves that allow blood to flow from the testicles and scrotum back to the heart. When you have a varicocele, these valves do not function properly; this causes the blood to pool which enlarges the vein.
A varicocele can lead to testicular atrophy (shrinkage of the testicles) and possibly contribute to infertility. Some experts believe that the elevated temperature resulting from the pooled blood in these veins can decrease sperm count and motility, and decrease the number of functional sperm.
Why would you need a varicocele embolization?
The treatment is as effective as surgery with less risk, less pain and a significantly shorter recovery period. We work closely with your urologist to make sure that varicocele embolization is an appropriate therapy.
Varicocele embolization is a minimally invasive procedure outpatient procedure. Minimally invasive means it does not involve surgery. It is performed by an interventional radiologist using image-guided techniques in a special angiography suite in an outpatient setting. Typically mild IV sedation and local anesthesia are used.
Our ability to use imaging guidance and cutting-edge technology minimizes patient risk. Prior to your procedure, your physician will discuss any potential risks with you.
Conditions to let us know about
Let your doctor know if you currently are feeling ill, have a fever, or are taking any blood thinners.
Varicocele embolization is covered by most private insurance providers as well as Medicare. We will seek authorization from your insurance company prior to your procedure.
Preparing for your procedure
If you are on blood thinners your doctor will instruct you if you need to stop these medications prior to the procedure. If your procedure requires sedation, then you will need a responsible adult to give you a ride home.
Recovering from your procedure
You may possibly receive mild to moderate sedation during your procedure. You will stay in the recovery area until you are ready for discharge. You will be given written post procedure discharge instructions that will advise you about return to normal physical activity. If you have any questions after your procedure, please call the RIA Interventional Suite at 720-493-3406.